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Masts of HMS Warrior 1860

Schwartz family

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 Part 1: Jürgen Anton Schwartz (? - ?)


Early life

The history of the Schwartz family starts in Poland in the early 18th century. A man called Jürgen Anton Czernitsky [1]  left his home in Poland, sometime before 1743, and settled in the little town of Großenbrode, in the north-east of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Why he left Poland is unknown. Although the  Commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania was becoming destablised, especially following the death of the king in 1733, the worst upheavals would not be felt until much later in the century. The dominant religion of Poland was Catholicism but there was generally a tolerant attitude to Protestants and Jews.

Jürgen [2] himself was most probably a Christian and of the majority peasant class so he probably was not suffering religious persecution or in need of political exile when he left. It is not known from where in Poland he originated and it is most likely that he left to make a better life for himself. [3] He was obviously determined to make the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein his new home and chose to adopt a German surname, ‘Schwartz’. It might have been chosen because he was of dark appearance ('Schwartz' being a descriptive surname).

Jürgen married Engel Helemann and their son Hans Jürgen Schwartz was born c1743 in Großenbrode. It is not known if they had any other children before him. Engel (whose name is actually a German boy’s name, meaning ‘angel’) probably died soon after Hans’ birth and Jürgen Anton married again, to Engel Möller. They had a son, Johann Hinrich Schwartz, born c1745 in Großenbrode. Nothing else is known of Jürgen Anton or either of his wives. As his son Hans Jürgen became a blacksmith, it is possible Jürgen was one, too.


 Children of Jürgen and Engel Helleman

More information about Hans Jürgen Schwartz (c1743 - 1804) appears in Part 2.


 Children of Jürgen and Engel Möller

Johann Hinrich Schwartz (c1745 - 1827) married twice. His first wife was Anna Dorothea Elisabeth Pragst, born 31 August 1747 in Großenbrode. They married in 1776 and had four children, two of whom died in infancy. Anna died 31 May 1786 aged 39, two months after the birth of their daughter, Engel Hedewig. Johann Hinrich married Anna Kloppien a year later. Anna had been born in Großenbrode 10 August 1787 and they had twelve children: six sons, five daughters and an unknown child who died at birth. At least three of their children died in infancy. Johann Hinrich was apparently a Krämer (a small shop keeper) although the 1803 Census of Schleswig-Holstein lists him as a Tagelöhner (a day-labourer). He died in Großenbrode 07 September 1827 aged 82. Anna died a year later 03 November 1828 aged 41. [4]


Next: Hans Jürgen Schwartz Sr


[1] Within a few generations, the spelling of Polish names can change and the surname ‘Czernitsky’ has numerous derivations (Chernisky, Czernicki, Czarnecki to name a few). The origin of this name is likely a place name and although ‘ski’ indicated noble origins once upon a time, it is no guarantee that Jürgen was of noble descent.
[2] The names ‘Jørgen’ and ‘Jürgen’ are often interchangeable in official records for the same person. For consistency in this family history, ‘Jørgen’ is used for Norwegian-born males and ‘Jürgen’ for those born elsewhere.
‘Polonia Today’ news magazine website (; ‘Five Empresses’ by Evgeniĭ Viktorovich Anisimov and Kathleen Carroll (2004); official Polish government website;; International Genealogical Index [IGI]
Fehmarn Genealogical Site [FGS] (; Schwartz family tree by Diana Bryant Schwartz; AKVD Database Census-Register of  Northern Germany (1796-1881)